When you are facing a criminal charge, your criminal defense lawyer is your advocate. He or she is the one who answers your questions, gives you legal advice, works to secure evidence and testimonies to build a solid defense strategy, and presents your case in court to demonstrate your innocence. All while working through this process, your lawyer is communicating with you about your case’s progress and informing you of your rights and legal options. Although you can defend your own case in court, you should not – invest in your future liberty by working with an experienced criminal lawyer.
Our firm works with individuals facing a variety of charge types. These include:
If your child is the one facing the charge, keep in mind that you need to work with a criminal defense lawyer who has specific experience handling juvenile cases. The lawyers at our firm have that experience. The juvenile justice system is very different from the adult criminal justice system and because of this, your child would be served most effectively by a lawyer who understands these differences and has experience navigating this separate system.
The criminal penalties you face for your charge depend on a few different factors, including:
Penalties you can potentially face if you are convicted include:
Keep in mind that when you are convicted of a criminal offense, there are consequences you can face for the rest of your life. Even after serving time and paying your fine, certain convictions have repercussions like prohibiting you from owning firearms and requiring you to register with the Wisconsin Sex Offender Registry. Even when you are not facing these legally enforced penalties, your social and professional life can be inhibited by the stigma of having a criminal record and if you have a parenting plan, it can impact this court order as well. When you are not sure whether it is worth your time and money to hire a lawyer to defend your case, remember all the ways a criminal conviction can follow you for the rest of your life.
How your criminal defense lawyer helps you is fairly straightforward: he or she is your advocate. Do not assume that a simple comparison means your lawyer has a simple job, though. As your advocate, your lawyer’s job is to direct your case toward the most favorable outcome possible for you. In an ideal scenario, this means using available evidence or the lack of valid evidence on the prosecution’s side to show the court that you are innocent of the crime for which you have been charged.
There are a few different ways your lawyer can help you achieve this. He or she may work with you to obtain crucial evidence to support your case like eyewitness testimonies and items from the crime scene. He or she might also file a motion to suppress evidence that collected through an illegal search and seizure, testimony that you provided during an illegal interrogation, or evidence that is simply irrelevant to your case.
Not all criminal cases fit into this ideal scenario, though. Sometimes, there is simply no way to absolutely prove your innocence to the court. When this is the case, your lawyer might advise you to consider another option: a plea bargain.
A plea bargain is the opportunity to plead guilty to a lesser charge than the one you originally faced. In doing so, you are convicted of the lesser offense and face its penalties, but this spares you from facing the steeper penalties associated with your original charge. Accepting a plea bargain could be a way to stay out of jail, avoid a life-changing fine, or keep your driver’s license. If a plea bargain is an option for you, your lawyer will explain it in detail along with your case’s realistic outcome if you choose instead to continue to fight the charge.
Your relationship with your lawyer does not have to be over when the court rules on your case. If you feel the court acted in error, such as using invalid evidence to support its ruling or misapplying the law to your case, you may appeal its decision and potentially have the ruling overturned. Your lawyer can explain this process to you in detail and help you determine if this is a realistic avenue for your case. Another way your lawyer might continue to work with you in the years after your case’s verdict is by helping you seek an expungement. Through the expungement process, you can have your charge removed from your record so it does not appear in most background checks. This can help you secure employment and housing in the future.
When you are facing a criminal charge, the legal guidance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer can be the most valuable tool in your belt. Get started on your legal defense strategy with our team at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC today by scheduling your initial legal consultation in our office. We are here to answer any questions you have, walk you through the criminal defense process, and ultimately, work with you to defend your case.